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Historic Fullersburg Cemetery

Memorial Day at the historic Fullersburg Cemetery is traditionally celebrated by the changing of the flag ceremony. This annual event has been conducted for decades by local veterans on the only day during the year when the Cemetery is open for visitation.

Descendants of those buried here gather on this day to pay their respects and reflect upon their connection to the founders and settlers of Fullersburg. This historic community had its beginnings in the late 1830's after land in northeastern Illinois was deeded to the United States government by Native American tribes in the 1833 Treaty of Chicago.

Benjamin Fuller and his parents, brothers and sisters were among the first settlers to arrive in the area from Broome County, New York. Benjamin Fuller established a thriving town and center of commerce here along the Old Plank Road. The road, known today as Ogden Avenue, accommodated travelers between Chicago and Naperville in those early days when Fullersburg was the only stop along the route for food, lodging and supplies. Ben platted Fullersburg in 1851 and in that year, more than 160 years ago, he set aside land for the Fullersburg Cemetery which he donated to the community.

The Fullersburg Cemetery, nestled today within a residential section of modern Hinsdale at the intersections of Garfield Street between Maumell Street and Fuller Road, connects us - the cemetery visitors - to the past and to those who came before. We stand at graves and try to imagine the people of Old Fullersburg and what life was like in those long ago days.

The monuments and gravestones tell some of the story. They carry the names and dates of the births and deaths of many of the founders of Fullersburg. The earliest date of death recorded in the cemetery is 1847 and appears on the headstone belonging to Candace Fuller, the first wife of Jacob Fuller and the mother of Benjamin Fuller and his ten brothers and sisters. The graves of Jacob Fuller, Candace Fuller and Jacob's second wife, Theoda Kelcy Fuller, were initially located at the Torode Cemetery. Later, their bodies were moved to the Fullersburg Cemetery established by Benjamin.

Almost everyone buried at the Fullersburg Cemetery is descended from Jacob and Candace Fuller. Jacob and Theoda had no children. The immediate family ancestors are:
Velma Fuller Barclay - 1870 - 1937
Tammy Fuller Boyd - 1823 - 1864
Nella Fuller Brookins - 1869 - 1944
Angeline Fuller Ford - 5/2/1834 - 7/12/1893
Betsy Fuller Fox - 12/13/1840 - l/13/1915
Adeline Fuller - 7/22/1832 - 2/24/1864
Benjamin Fuller - 1810 - 1868
Candace S. Fuller - 1789 - 1/8/1847

Catherine Fuller - 5/31/1832 - 3/28/1878
Charlotta Everndon Fuller - 9/19/1852 - 3/26/1920
Cynthia Talmadge Fuller - 1818 - 1858
David Fuller - 3/38/1825 - 11/22/1896
Ellen Fuller - 1840 - 1921
Esther M. Fuller - 12/26/1829 - 8/27/1892
Jacob W. Fuller - 1786 - 1867
John R. Fuller - 1835 - 1924
Mary Ann Fuller - 1835 - 1926
Minnie Fuller - 9/14/1892 - 9/28/1892
Morell Fuller - 1829 - 3/29/1912
Olive A. Fuller - 1814 - 1877
Polly Davis Fuller - 1821 - 1862
Samuel Fuller - 1842 - 1891
Sherman Fuller - 1865 - 1929
Theoda Kelcy Fuller - 1815 - 1865
Florence Fuller MacDonald - 1862 - 1952

Life was hard in those early years of old Fullersburg and it was not unusual for families to lose infants. Minnie Fuller lived only 14 days. Other infant gravestones carry names like Our Baby (Ruchty - no dates) and Baby Grace (Walker - no dates).

The cemetery is also the final resting place for men from Fullersburg who served in the Civil War and lived to return home. These veteran Union soldiers are:

Eugene Debonstine (no headstone)
Malcomb J. Palmer (no headstone
H. Cooper (no headstone)
Samuel A. Coe
Menzo Coffin
Charles Curtis
Heman M. Fox
J. C. Hess
Augustus A. Lincoln
Stephan F. Mills
Orin W. Peterson
W.W. Van Velzer
Morell Fuller

Morell Fuller was a drummer in the Union Army who participated in General Sherman's infamous March to the Sea through Georgia.

John A. Andre, a Confederate soldier, was buried at the cemetery in 1903 in an unmarked grave. A tree is believed to commemorate the site.

Burial at the privately owned Fullersburg Cemetery is reserved for families who can produce a deed to a plot. Currently, there are 192 gravesites at the cemetery.

On Memorial Day, the Fuller family gathers at the Fullersburg Cemetery at 12:30 PM to watch as the year-old flag is lowered and replaced with a new flag in this traditional annual ceremony. Don Fuller led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.

After the ceremony, visitors linger among the headstones bearing names of those we have only heard of before in historic or oral records, or whose faces we have seen in vintage photos. Tall oaks shade the cemetery and it seems like time stands still for a little while.

The Fullersburg Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in DuPage County.

Photographs by: Michael Dutka

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